Today, New Democrat MLAs Katrine Conroy and Michelle Mungall raised the issue of B.C. Student Aid funding for capital-intensive trades training programs in the legislature.
Using the example of Mountain Transport Institute’s decreasing enrollment in their industry-certified “Earning your wheels” program and the call for qualified truck drivers from numerous trucking companies, they pointed out that B.C. is not graduating enough trained truck drivers.
They noted that there are plenty of eager students, but the Liberals existing financial aid keeps them out of training. The cost of industry-certified programs like MTI is near $14,000 for the 12 week program. However, StudentAid sets a maximum of $3480 available to students.
Sadly, when questioned about the results of a review to student financial assistance promised last June, and the possibly of properly providing StudentAid funding to students in the trades, the Minister of Advanced Education decline to answer. Instead the Minister for Jobs, Tourism and Innovation got up and preached about the benefits of the ITA pilot program – a program which was run by Mountain Transport Institute, and from which we’ve seen nothing since its completion.
Industry educators, students and businesses all know it’s time for the government to provide the support to get students qualified for the jobs that are sitting empty now.
You can watch today’s exchange in question period here.